Real Rider Cup Triples Previous Fundraising Record


Former TDN staffer Alexa Reisfield rides Sadie's Magic in the silks of Franklin Ave. Equine in the Real Rider Cup Sept. 16 | Sarah Andrew

Following a record-setting turnout in Lexington this past July, the 63 entered riders that have taken part in the Real Rider Cup have raised better than $160,000 this year, a number that rises to $173,000 when corporate sponsors are factored in. That amount more than triple any previous annual total for the event and brings the total raised since the inception of the Real Rider Cup to $410,000 raised for Thoroughbred aftercare.

“It's been an honor to have been a beneficiary of the Real Rider Cup since the beginning,” said Retired Racehorse Project executive director, Kirsten Green. “Aftercare is a critical stage in a racehorse's life, one that is made successful by many different types of organizations working synergistically towards the same result. [Event creator] Anita [Motion]'s selection of beneficiaries recognizes the essential need to fund aftercare organizations who serve the horses in a variety of ways.”

The Real Rider Cup returned to Fair Hill Friday with 32 horse and rider combinations along with hundreds of spectators. The Real Rider Cup brings together personalities from across the racing and breeding industry to increase awareness for and raise funds for aftercare. Each participant pledges to raise at least $1,000.

Riders, mounted on off-the-track Thoroughbreds and wearing the silks of their employers, colleagues, and clients contended a winding course of fences with the fastest clear rounds taking home top honors. Connections and institutions represented included Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Maryland Jockey Club, 1/ST Racing, Mid-Atlantic Equine Medical Center, Equine Veterinary Care, Country Life Farm, Hillwood Stables/Rodney Jenkins, Whitney Stables, and more. Noteworthy horses included Henry S. Clark Stakes winner Talk Show Man, who was ridden by both Maggie (Wolfendale) Morley and Penelope Miller, who once again faced off against on-track rival, back-to-back winner of the Maryland Million Turf Stakes Phlash Phelps, who was piloted by his long-time exercise rider Sabrina Morris. Multiple graded stakes placer turned event horse Adirondack King was ridden by Keira Nygaard. Additional black-type runners included Flash McCaul, Virginia Peach, Grandiflora, and hard-knocking campaigner Greek God, piloted by Maryland Jockey Club outrider Kaymarie Kreidel. The field also included 11 Thoroughbred Makeover graduates. Handicapper Jessica Paquette served as emcee, providing color commentary.

Individual results: win–Cassie Lively on Quite a Journey; place–Chelsea Buttermore on Fantastic Omen, and individual place rider from Lexington, Keira Nygaard, returned to ride again in Fair Hill to take the show placing on Aidrondack King.

Team Results: win–Team GSVH Pony Camp (Lively, Shore, Pfeiffer), Place: Team Mid-Atlantic Equine Medical Center (Bellgrave, Pennington, Buttermore); show: Team Animal Kingdom (Fewster, Crowell, Chubb).

Two overall awards will be determined in the coming days: Cassie Lively and Lexington individual winner, Jesslyn Woodall will face off in a “Who Jumped It Best?” jump-off, where members of the public may vote for their favorite round through 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, September 21 to determine the overall winner of the event. Vote now at

Pledges to the Real Rider Cup can still be made by clicking here.

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